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18 thoughts on “Update”

  1. Hi,

    I’m a new member and would more than happy to offer up a bio. Could anyone direct me as to how to do that? I searched the home page and didn’t find any indicators or guidance.

    Thanks and happy to be part of this group of dedicated educators.

    Marcy Little (from Ithaca, NY)

    1. Hi Marcy. I went to the U of Rochester a century ago to read in French Literature rigth there near you in Ithaca. That is where our Laurie is, by the way, in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

      Thanks for asking about the bios – I didn’t make that clear. You just send it to me at benslavic.@yahoo.com and I just post it. Simple.

      By the way, your French rocks. I loved reading that exchange between you and Sabrina here a few days ago. It’s just a great language!

  2. Caroline Miklosovic

    I am new to the group. Four years ago my husband died of brain cancer 3 months after the diagnosis. It was a beautiful adventure. A year later I moved to the Atlanta area (Decatur) where my daughter and her family live. I currently teach at Parkview High School. Bob Patrick, my c0-Latin teacher, invited me to teach with him, and I have been here for 3 years. Bob and I had met at a student Latin convention several years before and found that we had a lot of common interests in student’s success and methodology. I came here from Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta, where I initiated the Latin program in 1997. I have also lived in Anchorage, Alaska, Washington DC, and San Antonio, TX. When in San Antonio we were working with Ed Phinney in the late 80’s and produced a lot of material for the Cambridge Latin Texts, which Cambridge now sells, but they doesn’t allow to be posted on the net. We began using some oral Latin, asking Latin questions with Latin responses, reading stories aloud and gesturing, but nothing to the extent that you masters of the universe have done with TPRS. When I came to Parkview, Bob gave me numerous ideas and connected me with people and materials, which have enhanced my TPRS journey. He is an awesome mentor. Four summers ago, Bob encouraged me to attend Rusticatio, a weeklong Latin immersion. I was the peasant of the group and learned a lot about TPRS and ways to bring my students on the oral/written Latin journey. I continue to learn and thus have joined this group to share resources and ideas.
    By the way, in my other life I was an accountant for a long time. I will take students any day.

    1. Sabrina Janczak

      Hi Caroline,

      I want to welcome you to this blog and applause you for your candor and openness in talking about your tragedy to people you don’t even know yet. I am so sorry for your loss. You will find that openness, candor, and humility are common qualities among many people on this blog.
      I studied latin for a year at Lycée Victor Hugo in Paris where I come from, and I loved every second of it until they changed the teacher on me and my classmates and I gave it up the second year.
      I was privileged to watch Ben do some informal Coaching to some of the Latin teachers on this blog one night in the hallway of our Las Vegas Hotel during NTPRS conference. What an incredible gift you guys have to bring a dead language back to life.
      I m looking forward to many meaningful conversations.

    2. Adrianne Bradley

      Welcome! I look forward to collaborating with you and the rest of the group. Thanks so much for sharing about your husband. I’m so sorry about your loss. My husband became very ill last summer and is completely bedridden. He has been diagnosed with a severe case of Chronic Fatigue Immune Disorder. We worked together at the same school before he became ill, so I’m having a hard time going back to work next week and leaving him behind. This is not what we expected 2 years into our marriage. Thanks for reminding me that it is a “wonderful adventure”. God has been faithful to us through this and given us insight meant for older minds. Thanks again for sharing. Glad you are here.

  3. I agree with everything said in this article. I go back in about 2 and a half weeks and I’m trying really hard to not freak out…I don’t feel ready. This summer went so damn quickly, it was like it was non-existent.

    I don’t think the poster and wall arrangement issue is minor. I agree it is crucial. I definitely need to know what posters I need to get up on the walls. I have the rules and that’s it. I need the metacognition poster….do I need a word wall? If so what do I put on it? Do I need a consequences poster, if so, what? These are all questions I’m asking myself.

    How to survive in a non-CBI school? I hear ya. My solution is…….I had a long paragraph here about my solution but I cut it out after writing my paragraph about privacy below.

    Assessment is an important topic. In the world of TPRS there are many subgroups and with assessment there are different subgroups. Scott Benedict is the assessment guru in the world of TPRS, but there’s been disagreement among this PLC in regards to his views. Robert Harrell is our in-house guru on assessment. With conflicting ideas in the TPRS community on how assessment should be done, I think this issue should be addressed here so that we have a solid idea on what to do instead of having multiple voices speaking in our ears.

    Privacy will always be a necessity here. Just look at some of the things I impulsively say on here. I agree that we need bios from everybody. For fireballs like me that like to speak without thinking, it’s important to know who is here. I feel comfortable being able to say what is on my mind; but some of that comfort goes away when I see that there’s a good number of people on here that don’t have bios up. There are people in this group whose names we don’t know and we don’t know where they’re from. That scares me. It takes a way a little bit of that secure feeling, makes me censor a little bit of what I’m going to say………just in case.

    1. Chris – Bob Patrick has kindly sent me photos of his walls. I need to get those up here and I will asap. Listen to what he says on this topic.

      I will try to briefly address your questions above. Today I spent a lovely day at the doggie park watching my Aussie Shepherd Elsie (white mustache) shake water all over my kids all day. But here are a few ideas on what you asked, nowhere complete of course, as nothing ever is:

      1. …I need the metacognition poster….do I need a word wall?….

      I suggest holding off on the metacognition poster. I used it at iFLT and the fundamental idea (Harrell’s) is fantastic but it’s not really needed until maybe four weeks in or so and I suggest you focus on the more basic must-have posters first. Word Wall depends on whether you buy into that Word Asssociation stuff that I describe on my site here and that is such an important part of my own pedagogy. It is a style thing and some people won’t play that way but for me it is a total necessity. I have mine in French for levels one and two but my web guy is slow on the trigger with a lot of new stuff over on the resources page of this site. He is a baseball coach and is clearly super busy in the summer but there is a ton of new stuff that will appear on that resources page, at least 20 new articles, when he gets to them. One is the jobs description which many asked about at the conventions, and I will post that here as a blog entry in the next few days. I got schooled by Bob Patrick last spring on the consequences poster in a down period in March, so just listen to Bob on this one and don’t even go with the consequences poster – forget you even heard about it.

      Actually check that thought on your word wall question, Chris – they are up on my site now. They are not on the resources page but on the posters page which you reach through the resources page. Click on “Word Wall Short Version” and “Word Wall Long Version” which are my walls for levels 1 and 2, respectively. Sorry they are not in Spanish.

      Dude, go reread your question about assessment above. It perfectly addresses my concerns about the national conference and the role that some people have assumed as experts. There are no experts. There’s just us. Scott does great stuff and many people resonate with his ideas. Fantastic. You listen to whom you most resonate with. I resonate with Harrell. But you have do decide for yourself on that one, my man. There is no standardized answer in this work and there never will be one, and the same is true for assessment. We have talked our ears off last year on this topic and it is clear to me. I am happily past the rapids and enjoying the calm waters of Assessment Lake in Harrell, California. The fish are plentiful, and I now look back whimsically on how complicated I used to make my gradebook. How obsessive I got about it so that I couldl prove to people who couldn’t understand it what a good and thorough teacher I was. What crap. I can’t have those decades back, but I can enjoy this new simplicity of assessment and “get” my own truth that doing CI is all that matters and that getting too wigged out about assessment is just stupid.

      1. Whoa! There’s a TON of new stuff on the posters page!

        I agree with what you said about assessment and experts. I just know that Scott is known as the assessment guru, that’s all I meant, but he seems to be very output centered.

        1. Yes and God bless him for that but it is not my truth. Output is the enemy of my kids. And all I am stating in all of these discussions is my own truth. My own truth is all that I can state. There is not one way to do comprehension based instruction. That’s it.

    1. Yes got it Adrianne just got an unwieldy queue going here for awhile. I am determined not to post too much stuff this year like I did last year to a point where it was just ridiculous. Call me by the way there is something I want to mention to you I promise I won’t talk your ear off.

  4. So glad to see my wonderful colleague and friend, Caroline Miklosovic, here. What a joy to work wit her!

    I wrote this on my FB page this morning: “It’s really affirming to me, as I begin my 24th year of teaching and 32nd year of working with people in a “helping field” that many veteran teachers, even though we could teach with one armed tied and a blindfold on, get nervous about the beginning of school. There’s a certain excitement, anticipation, desire for every kid to get a good start, for what we do to feel good, be good and to matter. So, Friday, I’m glad to see you, but I hear the train engine revving up. We pull out of the station on Monday, feeling ready or not. 🙂 ”

    I am so excited and so nervous about school starting on Monday. Caroline and I both stayed late today to get those last things, and yes, Ben, things on the wall. I have brand new “Basics for Learning Latin”, and “Don’t Mess with DEA (dea in Latin means goddess, but DEA also stands for Daily Engagement Assessment), and Safety Net Rules all plastered to my walls as of 4:00 today.

    I have six sections of Latin (5 is normal in our school system, so this is an overload). I have 195 students. I have not ever taught that many students in one year, ever, in my career. How exciting! How nerve wracking!

    Thank you, Ben, and thank you all, for this Professional Learning Community. That moniker has been bantered around in my work for years, but has become real here.

    1. I would like to comment on various points made in this post:

      1. In addition to the topics you mention I would remind us of

      a. Teaching upper levels (could we get Bryce to chime in here?)

      b. creating community in our classes – getting students to respect and
      appreciate each other and treat one another with kindness.

      2. You mentioned again in this post the frenzied, hectic, stressful and chaotic nature of school? Would you mind commenting on what you see as the primary, fundamental root cause of this? I have wondered for some time why this is true?

      3. Welcome Caroline. I too appreciate your candor and willingness to share.
      What a wonderful complement you pay to Bob. to call him a “wonderful

      4. Marybeth suggested recently that I send out an email to the “Maine (vermont and NH too) TPRS group and ask if there would be interest in getting together before school starts to do some coaching and to “get a shot in the arm.” I have heard from 4-5 people expressing interest. I too think this is where we should spend our time and energy….”smaller groups at regional levels using short demos followed by long intensive voluntary coaching sessions for just a few days and then back home to family. ” Our first meeting will only be a day, perhaps part of a day, but it will be meaningful.

      Thanks for the call to focus before school starts.


      1. skip Kate is the one to consult on creating community. You may have missed her Monday session in Las Vegas. Anyway, that is a kind of constant thread here so I’m sure we will address it a ton this year as usual, esp. now as the year starts up and we do our heavy personalization and bigging up of the kids. [credit: Katherine Burke on that great term, bigging people up]

        and yes skip upper levels is definitely on the list here for this year.

        and re your question about why all the frenzy – I have a simple answer. We are in that time now. It is time for that kind of insanity. And when that time is over, it will be gone. I have used the term war many times here and in private conversation. I think it is a war. That is my truth. And when war is waged against children, I get my game face on. That’s it. So do you, my brother. So do a lot of us. A lot of teachers are doing some really shitty teaching that is causing kids to feel really stupid and we can do something about that now, when we couldn’t before. We can help stop school shootings. We can help improve our national security and as a patriot and I want to do that. We are not in this to play around. This is no game for the fainthearted. Game on, at least for one more year. And even if it feels like we are losing, Lord knows we are most certainly NOT losing. Even on the worst of days, which we will all have. Officers, ready draw…sabers.

  5. Ben writes:
    “I have been talking with Bryce and Sabrina. We have some ideas about trainings. We want to work in the Wednesday night model Angela referred to – smaller groups at regional levels using short demos followed by long intensive voluntary coaching sessions for just a few days and then back home to family. ”

    Ben, I *NEED* this type of coaching and am really looking forward to it!!! Now more than ever! We just rec’d an email that they have cancelled Spanish 5 and merged French 5 with French 4 at my school (we did not even have a Level 4 scheduled for Spanish this year! and only EIGHT are enrolled in Level 3) I need to be sure that I am “proficient” in CI/CBI/TPRS for several reasons #1. for the KIDS to ENJOY language class #2. for them to succeed (which they will if they are enjoying it) #3. to show my colleagues that it is a method that WORKS and helps to RETAIN the kids (not telling them “we’ve gone over ser and ester for 1.5 weeks now – you SHOULD know, bc we need to move on to the next [grammar] point”….and then the kids get left in the dust and feel like failures – so WHY continue with a course that makes you feel like a failure????
    BRING ON THE COACHING!!!!! I am SO psyched! (I enjoyed Breckenridge, it was peaceful -except for the altitude issues- and I loved meeting everyone on this list and seeing that I am not alone in this journey; however, although I have only been doing this for one year, I have read so much about CI and watched so many videos, I need someone to watch ME and tell me where I am lacking so I can move forward now – successfully!)

  6. MB you have done a LOT in one year. Like it took me about eight years to get where you are now.

    Bryce is in Indiana and Sabrina in Florida now, but we are serious about this project and will post more about what we are planning here in the next few weeks when we turn the idea of intensive regional trainings into more than just an idea.

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